Community Food Heroes

We may be going through some tough times right now, but there is still plenty of good news out there to keep us going. That's why we've reached out to our dear friends at Produced in Kent to tell us all about some of the inspiring businesses who are doing all they can to help make life a little brighter. 

Produced in Kent have created a brand new website to connect customers to local food and drink, www.helpkentbuylocal.co.uk is listing shops still open, veg box delivery, takeaway food and drink, online orders and more.

Kent’s food and drink businesses response to the current Covid-19 situation has been inspiring. The producers and retailers are working hard to keep staff and customers safe, while still keeping Kent fed. On top of that, they are coming up with all sorts of ways of getting essential supplies to key workers and food to those most in need, and make sure that isolated older members of the community get a hot meal. Here are just 3 examples from around the county.

 

Spadework is a registered charity, supporting trainees who have learning and other disabilities, Kris Healey, CEO, explained what the outbreak has meant for them.

‘We have been trying to carry on all our activities as much as possible, trying to create the minimum amount of disruption for our service users, known to us as trainees, as well as our loyal customers and supporters. But when Government guidelines on social distancing came into force last week we had to take the decision to ask the trainees to not come into work. We are also running the service predominantly with volunteers in order to keep everybody safe and healthy.

The café is now closed and we have had to stop all community activities. Our income has dropped by 90%, and we are desperately waiting to hear from local Government whether we will keep receiving funding for the community work that we carry out.

The farm shop is still operating, thankfully, and is offering safe call and collect services without the need for customers to leave their car or come into contact with any staff. The farm shop is also offering to vulnerable people a home delivery service at no extra charge.

Then last week we received a heart-breaking phone call from the Heart of Kent Hospice. Their amazing staff, who work long hours and often with late finishing times, were unable to get any fresh fruit or veg from the supermarket as every time they went the shelves were empty.... So Spadework stepped in and is now delivering fresh fruit and veg boxes every week to the staff of the Heart of Kent Hospice.

Our local community are supporting Spadework and Spadework is supporting our local community!'

For more information on the services offered by Spadework, please go to their website

 

At the other end of the county The Yarrow hotel in Broadstairs has produced and donated hundreds of meals to help those in need. Closing in accordance with the guidelines meant that there was food in the hotel and the EKC training kitchens that would go to waste.

The initiative was devised by The Yarrow’s Hotel Manager, Lee Osborn, and Head Chef, Ben Williams, who commented: “It was really important to us at The Yarrow to do something proactive during this difficult time to help the local community. We created individual portions of home-made soups and bread, and donated the meals to Changing Minds Kent’s Lifeboat Project and the Salvation Army for distribution to those in need.”

Ben added: “We’re proud to have been able to produce these meals whilst minimising food waste. It’s great to support the community and we hope that the meals will help the people and families who need them most.”

The Yarrow is part of the EKC Group and is the only hotel of its kind in the UK to offer students high-quality training experiences in a luxury establishment.

 

Meanwhile, at The Chequers in Aylesford, it’s been ‘all systems go’ to deliver free daily home-cooked meals to vulnerable and elderly residents . Elderly residents get a choice of two or three meals each day, and on a Sunday they get a lovely home-cooked roast! The team along with local volunteers including

MP Tracey Crouch and Councillors Steve Hammond and Colin Williams have been delivering over 75 meals a day. At a time when elderly residents are more cut off from community than ever, it’s great to see a restaurant respond so positively to having their business turned upside down!